Dealing with female-pattern hair loss

All Woman

THE most common cause of hair loss in women is a condition called androgenetic alopecia, which is referred to as female-pattern hair loss when it happens in women.

Androgenetic alopecia can look different in men and women, with men developing bald areas on the front and the top of the scalp, while women have thinning hair on the top of the scalp, but usually do not lose all of the hair there.

According to medical website and database uptodate.com, another common cause of hair loss is called alopecia areata, which happens when the body's infection-fighting system gets confused and starts to attack the parts of the skin where hair grows, leaving big, usually round spots of hair missing.

In relation to hair loss causes for women, internist Dr Jomo James explained that in the case of androgenetic alopecia in women, genetics plays a role.

“There are other factors, some unknown, that play a role, but abnormal levels of androgens in the blood are the cause of androgenetic alopecia in a minority of women. Additional research is necessary to provide a better understanding of the role of genetics and other factors in androgenetic alopecia,” he said.

While men and women experience androgenetic alopecia with equal frequency, it may be camouflaged better in women, and women rarely experience loss of all their hair.

Androgenetic alopecia can usually be diagnosed by examining the scalp, while some cases may require a blood test to look for other causes of hair loss, like changes in hormone levels, low iron levels (anaemia), or thyroid problems.

Treatment in women, though dependent on the type of hair loss, is done using Minoxidil or a medication called Spironolactone.

Additionally, surgical options may also be considered in some cases.

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